Inactivation of coliphage MS-2 and poliovirus by copper, silver, and chlorine

M. T. Yahya, T. M. Straub, C. P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The efficacy of electrolytically generated copper and silver ions (400 and 40 μg/L, respectively) was evaluated separately and in combination with free chlorine (0.2 and 0.3 mg/L) for the inactivation of coliphage MS-2 and poliovirus type 1 in water at pH 7.3. The inactivation rate was calculated as log10 reduction/min: k = -(log10 C(t)/C0)/t. The inactivation of both viruses was at least 100 times slower in water containing 400 and 40 μg/L copper and silver, respectively (k = 0.023 and 0.0006 for MS-2 and poliovirus, respectively), compared with water containing 0.3 mg/L free chlorine (k = 4.88 and 0.036). Significant increases in the activation rates of both viruses were observed in test systems containing 400 and 40 μg/L copper and silver, respectively, with 0.3 mg/L free chlorine when compared with the water systems containing either metals or free chlorine alone. Poliovirus was approximately 10 times more resistant to the disinfectants than coliphage MS-2. This observation suggests either a synergistic or an additive effect between the metals and chlorine for inactivation of enteric viruses. Use of copper and silver ions in water systems currently used in swimming pools and spas may provide an alternative to high levels of chlorination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-435
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992


  • bacteriophage
  • chlorine
  • coliphage MS-2
  • copper
  • disinfection
  • enteric viruses
  • inactivation
  • poliovirus
  • silver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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